Regardless of its unique expression in our individual lives, our central purpose is to make of our lives a celebration of being.
Sometimes our paths are bathed in mirth and sometimes shadowed by pain. But always, the driving force that pulls us forward is our desire to live in happiness, to be mindful of our aliveness, and to lift up the gift of our being in thanksgiving and joy.
Happiness for Its Own Sake
When you grasp that the desire to live in happiness is what motivates all our seeking, what shapes all our choices, you hold the magic compass that will unerringly guide your way.
And here’s a seldom-voiced secret: When you understand that happiness is our essential desire, you’re free to seek it directly, for its own sake. Get to the heart of your happiness and happiness itself will lead you to everything else that you need. It will reveal your best strengths—because exercising them brings you the greatest pleasure, meaning and satisfaction. It will tease out your true talents by filling your expression of them with delight. It will whisper to you which relationships enrich you by painting them with laughter, openness, honesty, intimacy, caring, appreciation and joy.
The more you live in happiness, the more real you are, the more authentic and alive.
Scouting Out Your Happiness
So how do you go about discovering your happiness? Try this:
Take five minutes and begin writing down the things that please and satisfy you. What most delights your senses? What sights? What sounds? What fragrances? What textures? What movements? What tastes? Write these down on your happiness list.
What moves your heart? When do you feel most alive? Most satisfied? Strongest? Purest? When are you the most playful? What excites you? When are you the most relaxed and serene? Write your answers down.
Think back to your childhood. What delighted you then? Scan your whole life. What kinds of work brings you the most satisfaction? What kinds of environments have pleased you the most? Where have you most enjoyed spending leisure time? What kinds of people turn you on? Are you most alive in nature? At a party? Working at a hobby? Participating in a sport? Engaging in one of the arts?
Do It Now
Don’t just read these instructions. There’s no magic in simply passing these words through your brain. The magic lies in following them, because they will lead you to the unique, personalized wealth of happiness within you.
Either open a page right now and begin making your happiness list or commit yourself right now to a time in which you will do it. Tonight, before bed? Tomorrow morning, first thing, even if it means getting up five minutes earlier? On your lunch hour? C’mon. Now or when. Commit to it. Your happiness depends on it.
Do you need convincing? A sales pitch for positivity? Okay then, what’s in it for you, besides the phenomenal way it feels, are some life-altering side effects:
Happy people—people who engage in positive living now—
- Are healthier,
- Live longer,
- Heal faster;
- Enjoy more success in everything they do;
- Have more and better friendships;
- Are more attractive;
- Are more creative;
- See more possibilities;
- Recognize more opportunities;
- Are better risk-takers;
- Are more at peace;
- Appreciate life more;
- See more beauty;
- Enrich the lives of others;
- Contribute more to their communities;
- Are more self-directing;
- Feel more competent;
- Are more content;
- Take greater control of their lives.
Happiness is a Survivor Skill
These are real capabilities, the kind that come through for you not only in your everyday life, but when you’re thrown against the wall. Happiness is a survival skill. It’s where grit and resilience come from when the tough times roll.
When you’re rooted in positivity, you have the tools you need to deal with life’s tragedies, setbacks and pain. You meet life face-on, free from self-imposed victimhood, because you can see the broader picture. Your focus isn’t narrowed to seeing only what’s wrong, but sweeps across the entire landscape in search of what can be made right. Your realism extends to seeing possibilities as well as roadblocks, and being rooted in positivity, you have the daring to try new paths, to forge ahead, to see and utilize your assets.
And it all begins by deciding to commit yourself to being happy, and then identifying what activities, relationships, and pursuits bring you the most joy.
So take five, and start your list. Make happiness job one and get to work on it.